Exercise has a powerful ability to change how we’re thinking and how our bodies are feeling by creating a positive energy inside of us. But it’s hard to really enjoy a workout if you’re just not in the mood. So what you should do? Here’s the trick:
Choose your workout based on your mood.
Yep. It’s that simple.
Think of it this way: after an especially long and exhausting day at work, do you really want to go out for a 10K run? Similarly, it might not feel right to settle into some yoga poses if you’re full of energy and need to work some of it off.
We all have our fitness routines and the types of workouts that we like best and work best for us, and that’s great. But if you find yourself dreading a particular workout, why not change it up? Instead, choose to do an exercise based off of how you’re feeling that day, and what your body is telling you it needs.
If you’re struggling to get in the mood for your usual workout, we’ve got 6 exercise suggestions for all situations. This approach can help you mix up your fitness routine and keep things fresh, but it’s also a great tool to find ways to stay active every day, even if you’re not feeling your best. The exercises we’ve chosen are also designed to make you feel better, and when exercise makes you feel good it’s the best positive reinforcement for sticking with it and maintaining your motivation. Which we all need help with from time to time.
Alright, here they are:
If you’re feeling stressed…
Go to exercises that really emphasize the mind-body connection. You’ll get quiet time to yourself where you can direct all of your focus into being in the moment and what your body is doing. Yoga is especially powerful as it utilizes the power of your breath to help you calm yourself down, and simple flows and stretches will help loosen muscle tension that can be caused by stress.
- Exercises to try: Yoga, Pilates, or Barre
If you’re feeling tired…
If you’re exhausted the last thing you want to do is take up a high energy exercise that is going to tire you out even more, because you’ll associate exercise with making you feel even worse. This can negatively impact your motivation in the long run, and you’ll also be more susceptible to injury. Keep things simple with a light exercise to get your heart rate up and your blood pumping a little faster.
- Exercises to try: Brisk 20 minute walk or recovery-style run outside, foam rolling, dynamic stretching
If you’re feeling frustrated or upset…
Pent up emotions can be channeled into a great workout, but you have to be careful with how you release them because you don’t want to end up injuring yourself. If you’re angry about something that happened earlier in the week, go into a workout that can channel that energy safely and effectively into positive fitness results. Instructor-led classes can keep you focused and in-sync with a supportive group.
- Exercises to try: Spin class, TRX, Kick boxing, or HIIT
If you’re feeling achy and lethargic (or sore from previous workouts)…
Get in the water. The buoyancy of a water environment can alleviate joint pains and make your body feel naturally lighter, and it reduces your risk of further injury. Moving around in water also gives you a natural lymphatic massage because it helps move around excess fluids, reducing swelling and inflammation, and eliminating toxins in your body.
- Exercises to try: Aqua-aerobics, laps in the pool
If you’re feeling lonely or struggling with motivation
Look for team sports or competitive clubs where you can join like-minded individuals in a form of exercise that’s fun and engaging. It’s a great way to meet new people, and it’s the best motivation for sticking with it, because your teammates will be counting on you to come to any practices or games you may have.
- Exercises to try: Any adult sporting leagues or club teams
If you’re feeling bored by workouts
Go to exercises or sports that naturally engage your mind. Workouts that require both physical exertion and mental strategy are not only fun but it usually doesn’t even feel like a workout. Tennis is our go-to for this one, but we’ve listed a few other great options below.
- Exercises to try: Tennis, rock climbing, or hiking
If you’re energized and feeling good
Get out for a run, do your go-to resistance circuit at the gym, or take your favorite spin class – and enjoy it! When you’re feeling good and full of energy it’s a great time to do higher intensity workouts that you enjoy because the endorphin rush will make you feel even better, and you’ll become stronger at that workout. This will create a positive feedback loop that will help further with motivation and staying active every day.
- Exercises to try: Your favorite go-to workout!
Above all, you’ll want to do a workout you enjoy. There’s no sense in doing yoga for stress reduction if you’re not a fan of getting on the mat, because it might not be beneficial to you. Listen to your body, do what feels good, and have fun. That’s what it’s all about.
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